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The third part of the popular and comprehensive series Photoshop CS6 One-on-One follows industry pro Deke McClelland as he plunges into the inner workings of Adobe Photoshop. He shows how to adjust your color, interface, and performance settings to get the best out of your images and the most out of Photoshop, and explores the power of Smart Objects, Shadows/Highlights, and Curves for making subtle, nondestructive adjustments. The course dives into Camera Raw to experiment with the editing toolset there, and returns to Photoshop to discuss toning, blur, and blend modes. Deke also teaches tried-and-true methods for sharpening details and reducing noise, as well as creating quick and accurate selections with Quick Mask, Color Range, and Refine Edge commands.
In this movie, I'll show you how to bring the skeleton into the planet's composition, complete with the layer mask, and then we will modify the layer mask using a couple of really great automated techniques. So here I am looking at the full-color photograph. I'll load my final mask as a selection outline by switching to the Channels panel, and then pressing the Control key, or the Command key on the Mac, and clicking on final mask. Then what you want to do is switch over to the Layers panel. Now I could press Control+C, or Command+C on a Mac, and then switch over to the planet's composition, and press Control+V, or Command+V be on a Mac, but that gives me a static layer, with all of of the pixels outside of that selection outline transparent, which provides me with scant editing opportunities.
For example, I need to get rid of this edge fringing, and there's no good way to do that without a mask. So I will press Control+Z, or Command+Z on a Mac, to undo that change, and I'll switch back to my dinosaur. I'll double-click on the background in order to convert it to a layer, and I'll name that layer hadrosaur, and then press Enter key, or the Return key on a Mac. And now I'll convert the selection to a layer mask by dropping down to the Add layer mask icon at the bottom of Layers panel, and clicking on it. Now what you want to do is, assuming that you have a selection tool active, right-click inside the image window, and choose Duplicate Layer, and then switch the document to The planets.psd, and click OK.
Now at this point, were you to save your changes, you would want to save this image not in the TIFF format, but in the native PSD format, because after all, you now have an independent floating layer, and the PSD format is best suited to a layered image. I will go ahead and switch over to The planets.psd, which now has the skeleton inside of it, complete with a layer mask. Now let's take care of that edge fringing. There's fringing inside the bones, and around the skeleton, and we are going to deal with that fringing in two different ways.
I'll click on the layer mask thumbnail to make it active; very important. Then I'll press Control+0, or Command+0 on the Mac, to back out slightly, and I'll press the L key to switch to the Lasso tool, and then I'll press and hold the Alt or Option key, and I'll click in order to create a polygonal selection outline around all of the holes inside of the dinosaur. So notice that I'm tracing between the holes, and the outside of the dinosaur. The one hole I'm skipping is that big hole inside the snout, and then when you get back to the beginning of your selection, release the Alt key, or the Option key on the Mac, in order to generate the selection outline.
I am going to go ahead and zoom on in here, so that we can better see what we are doing, and what we need to do is enlarge the holes. Now, if you were to Alt+Click or Option+Click on the layer mask thumbnail inside the Layers panel, you'll see that the holes are represented as black. So we need to enlarge the black areas, meaning that we need to apply the filter that increases the size of black, which is Minimum, so called because it's expanding the size of the minimum luminance level, which is black.
So that we can see what we are doing, I'll Alt+Click or Option+Click on that layer mask thumbnail again, make sure it's selected, and then go up to the Filter menu, choose Other, and choose Minimum, or if you loaded dekeKeys, you have a keyboard shortcut of Shift+F12. By default, the Radius value is set to 1 pixel. That's as much as we want. If we go any higher than that, you'll see that you expand the holes way too far. So 1 turns out to be exactly what we want, and if I click at this location here, so I can see the hole inside of the dialog box preview, if I click and hold, it used to be a little smaller.
If I release, you can see that it grows ever so slightly, just enough to fill in those fringes. Then I'll click OK to accept that change. Now to deal with the outside edges, and the edge inside of that snout, and I am going to approach those edges a little differently, because they require a more finessed approach. So I'll start by going up to the Select menu, and choosing the Inverse command, or you can press Control+Shift+I, Command+Shift+I on a Mac. And that way the holes are no longer selected, and the outside edges are.
Now, this approach involves a couple of steps. Step number one is to go up to the Filter menu, choose Blur, and then choose Gaussian Blur. And I'm going to take my Radius value up to 2 pixels, and you'll see that turns the fringes into halos. If I click at this location, that centers that portion of the mask inside the dialog box preview. I'll click and hold to show the before version, and I will release to show you the after version. What that does is it feathers the edges, so that we can slip them back and forth using a brightness modification.
Now I'll click OK. Step number two is to press Control+L, or Command+L on the Mac, in order to bring up the Levels dialog box, and now I am going to increase the black point value by clicking inside of it, and pressing Shift+up arrow several times, and as I do so, you can see that edge move inward. And I'm going to go ahead and zoom in a little bit more, so that I can continue to track my changes, and I found that taking the black point value up to 200 ended up doing the trick. And then I'll tab over to the white point value, and press Shift+down arrow a couple of times to take it down to 235, which scoots the inside edges out just a little bit, but really what it's doing is firming up the edges.
And that takes care of our fringing. I'll go ahead and click OK in order to accept that change, and then press Control+D in order to deselect the image. Now, you may wonder why I took two different approaches for the inside and the outside edges, and this is why: the second approach, Gaussian Blur combined with levels, ends up rounding off corners. So I've got this little wedge right here that wants to come out. I'll Alt+Click or Option+Click around it with the Lasso tool, and then black happens be my foreground color, so I will press Alt+Backspace, or Option+ Delete on the Mac, in order to fill it in.
Then I'll click inside the image to deselect it. I will Alt+Click around here in order to select this little detail, and I'll go ahead and release, and press Alt+Backspace, or Option+Delete on a Mac, in order to fill it in this well. And you can deal with as many of those as you want to. You don't really have to worry about it too much, quite frankly, because these are single pixel problems, and they probably won't render in print, or really any medium for that matter. Now, this area inside the hole does not have rounded corners, because we applied the minimum filter, but we do have some problem edges.
So I'll press the B key to switch to the Brush tool, and paint away some of this garbage, like so. Apparently that little blue spot is part of the background, so I won't worry about it, but I'll probably paint along this edge, just to quell it ever so slightly. Then we can check out some of the other edges, and see how they're faring. They are looking pretty good actually. That area inside the snout is so big that the rounding didn't really cause a problem for it. I am going to go ahead and zoom out. I am in to far at this point. And I think everything else is looking pretty good. I will just sort of skim around here to make sure.
Now once you get to these holes inside the spine, they may seem a little bit too jagged, and if so, just make sure your layer mask remain selected. Gaussian Blur was the last filter you applied, so press Control+Alt+F, or Command+Option+F on a Mac, to revisit the dialog box, and change the Radius value to 0.3 pixels, which is the smallest value that actually makes any difference, and you will add just a little bit of softening around those edges. Then click OK. All right. This looks pretty good to me. I'll just scroll down to make sure everything's in good shape.
This is a problem. This hole needs to be painted out slightly here, like so, and you can just hand paint some of these details if you want. This guy wants a little bit of attention too, but you know what? At some point you have to stop, so I am going to press the M key in order to switch back to the Rectangular Marquee tool. Press Control+0 or Command+0 on the Mac, to zoom out, and that is the final version of my layer mask, thanks to my ability to expand holes using the minimum filter, as well as correct edge fringing using a combination of Gaussian Blur along with the Levels command.
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